When you visit Costa Rica you will discover that is highly known for its abundant diversity regarding wildlife, plants, and landscapes. There is one word for this; biodiversity.

Caribbean Coast Bat

There has been a strong effort around nature to be preserved and let it grow as it is. Also, one of the advantages you visit Costa Rica, is that you can visit the Caribbean and in less than six hours later reach the Pacific Coast. It is an incredible journey across the country, by knowing diverse types of wildlife across the different forests.

In this text you will be able to read about ten things you did not know about Costa Rica or common misbelieves that are usually asked.

1. Yes, you have to pay a departure tax at the airport.

When you visit Costa Rica some airlines already include this tax when you buy the ticket, but beware of the ones that don’t. The tax is $29 per person and it has to be paid in cash or credit card when you get to the airport. You will not be allowed to check-in without paying it.

Check with your airline and see if the taxes are included, so that you don’t pay it twice. If they are not included and you are already in the country, you can pay it before in banks like; Banco de Costa Rica or Bancredito (Both of them located in the capital). Important to acknowledge that you can pay it in Costa Rican colones, U.S. dollars, or with Visa Credit Cards.

2. San José is not on the coast.

When you visit Costa Rica, you will discover that is divided into seven provinces, one of them is San Jose, it’s the capital city. Yes, when you visit Costa Rica you have the advantage of going from one store to the other one, and in the middle, you will find San José, in a valley; having no shore at all. This is a myth that the first Jurassic Park Movie input widely around the globe.

Also, we don’t have chicken running all over the city.

3. Costa Rica is not an Island.

We have some islands, but the country itself is definitely not one. We have two borders, one with Nicaragua, and the other with Panama, where the Panama Canal is.

When you visit Costa Rica you realize a country it’s in Central America that has both Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Here a map:

4. Costa Rica doesn’t have a king.

Before you visit Costa Rica, you can be sure that the country is a democracy, and because of it, we have a president. The Costa Rica president is currently elected every four years, with two vice-presidents, as well as 57 congressmen, all elected simultaneously.

Since 1825 when Juan Mora Fernandez became the first president of Costa Rica, we have had 62 presidents since the current one is Carlos Alvarado.

5. Costa Rica doesn’t have an Army

True fact, a civil war happened back in March 1948, it lasted around 44 days and around 2000 people were killed. When you visit Costa Rica you will find out that we vote for a new president every four years, the war happened exactly because of that, the presidential elections where annulled, after the Costa Rican republican party won, people joined to start a civil war called: “La revolución del 48” (The 1948 revolution) to remove power from the ones who didn’t deserve it and give it back to the people. Jose Figueres Ferrer, leader of the revolution, became president of the country and abolished from the constitution the military, removing his own army from power, making Costa Rica one of the first countries without a standing military force.

6. Jurassic park happens in Costa Rica

In the Book; Jurassic Park, you can read in the prologue; ‘The bite of a raptor’, where Michael Crichton mentions:

“Everything else was fine. She liked the isolation of Bahia Anasco and the friendliness of its people. Costa Rica had one of the twenty best medical systems in the world, and even in this remote coastal village, the clinic was well maintained, amply supplied”.

So, yes. But no worries, we don’t have more than two T-rexes in the land (To keep control of them).

Kidding! Actually the movie was not filmed in Costa Rica but in the Hawaiian Islands. Hence, Spielberg puts San Jose, in the coast with chicken roaming in the streets. So, visit Costa Rica without worries.

7. After Earth from Will Smith happened in Costa Rica.

Well, yes. Some of the locations that you see in the movie happened in Costa Rica. Will Smith visited Costa Rica and traveled with a team of 20 people on 2011 to scout the country to find the perfect scenery, the result was included in the ‘After Earth’ movie back in 2013.

Important to say that up until today, there are tours taking you to the areas where the movie was filmed and everyone in the area talks about Will Smith as if it was a long lost and recently found dear cousin.

8. San Jose City is chaotic in its design

Unfortunately, this is true. Costa Rica had a hard time looking for its capital city. When the country started, a law called the “La Ley de la ambulancia” (Law of the ambulance) began. It was about the capital city of the country; The four main cities of the Central Valley (Until today the cities of the Central Valley) Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, and San Jose were fighting to be the capital city and then our third president; Jose Rafael Gallegos came up with this idea that turned into law where the government and hence the capital city assignment, was going to rotate over the Central Valley every four years- Another president, Braulio Carrillo, came in, abolished the infamous law and named San Jose as the capital city forever. This disorder created a lackness in the planning of the cities, therefore its streets and avenues were never well established.

9. Six active volcanoes in Costa Rica.

This is actually true. When you visit Costa Rica, you will see that we have three volcanic range systems in where six volcanoes are actually active; Poas Volcano, Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, Irazu Volcano, Tenorio Volcano, Turrialba Volcano, and the Arenal Volcano. The Turrialba volcano is the most active of them all, having eruptions since 2014 (Ash and steam eruptions).

10. Costa Rica holds 5% of the worlds’ biodiversity

True as well, a small country as you will discover when you visit Costa Rica, has one of the highest biodiverse density in the whole World. Everywhere on your visit to Costa Rica, you will find wildlife, a huge amount of bird species, mammals, reptiles and insects. Depending on the area you can find these creatures mimetizing themselves in the green.

This is our top ten list of things you may not know about Costa Rica or common misbelieves, once you visit Costa Rica, you will find many more common myths and also marvel at the wonders the country has to offer.

Scroll to Top